FORT WORTH, Texas – Before play was halted and golf was shelved for 91 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were plenty of players who needed a break.
Tiger Woods had missed multiple starts before the quarantine, Brooks Koepka was struggling and Phil Mickelson had missed four cuts in his last five starts. All three were able to use the break to rest, recover and regroup.
One player who didn’t need, or want, the pause in play is Sungjae Im. Last year’s rookie of the year was leading the season-long points race and had finished first (Honda Classic) and third (Arnold Palmer Invitational) before The Players was canceled.
Im waited out the quarantine at Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa, Florida, and he spent most days adhering to a strict practice routine that included a focus on his short game.
“Luckily with the golf courses not closing where I stayed, I was able to practice about four to five hours every day during quarantine, and I felt like my short game needed a lot of work during the break, so I focused a lot on short game, but specifically, I tried to practice all parts of my game, and I feel ready to return this week,” he said.
Im was playing his 15th event of the season when the Tour schedule was suspended, and he’s become something of a road warrior on Tour. Being quarantined in one place for three months was always going to be a challenge.
“I would rest, sleep, just stay in my hotel. There wasn’t much to do,” Im said. “It was nice having my mom there, and I had a homemade meal every day, so that definitely helped the time go by.”